Six Maine residents were arrested late Thursday night after a larger group of climate activists blockaded a set of tracks passing through the small town of Fairfield in order to prevent a train carrying 70,000 barrels of “fracked” oil headed to a refinery in neighboring New Brunswick, Canada.
Associating themselves with a growing national campaign of direct action against the fossil fuel industry called “Fearless Summer,” the protesters at the scene erected a large scaffold over the tracks and held signs reading “Trains for people, not for oil” and “This train’s bound for Gory” (pun intended).
Police arrived, and after several warnings for the protesters to disperse, the six who refused were arrested as the scaffolding was destroyed with a chain saw.
Local media reported a surprisingly large law enforcement response with police from numerous towns showing up at the scene, including troopers from the State Police.
350 Maine*, the statewide group associated but independent from international organization 350.org that led the action, said the goal was to draw attention to the “fracked oil” that is quietly passing through the state on a regular basis. Local members of Earth First also participated in the action.
The groups say that the trains running through Maine carry crude from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and are especially toxic because “fracked oil” is extracted by blasting a high pressure toxic cocktail deep into the ground to release the oil from shale rock, polluting air and water in surrounding communities.
“People say that this new oil boom in the US will make us energy secure,” said Meaghan LaSala, student at University of Southern Maine and an organzier with 350 Maine. “But there is nothing secure about runaway climate change. This is our moment to change our trajectory before it’s too late.”
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